Military News

Friday, June 11, 2010

Secretary of the Navy Visits Service Members at African Lion

By Maj. Paul Greenberg, Marine Forces Reserve

June 11, 2010 - AGADIR, Morocco (NNS) -- On his way home from a trip to Afghanistan, the Honorable Ray Mabus, 75th Secretary of the Navy, paid a visit June 5 to troops participating in exercise African Lion 2010 in Agadir, Morocco.

For the past seven years, African Lion has been conducted annually between the U.S. and Moroccan militaries to further develop joint and combined capabilities between the two countries, which have been allies for more than 200 years.

This year's African Lion includes about 700 Marines and Sailors from Marine Forces Reserve units throughout the United States, as well as teams of active duty Navy Seabees and explosive ordnance disposal technicians.

Although he is a civilian, as secretary of the Navy, Mabus is the third most senior person in the Marines' and Sailors' chain of command, next to the president of the United States.

The day started early for Mabus on the morning of June 5. He met with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Col. Anthony Fernandez, the Task Force African Lion commanding officer, and received an in-brief from the task force staff in the command operations center.

He then addressed a formation of Marines, Sailors and Tennessee National Guardsmen, thanking them for their hard work over the past several weeks and explaining the strategic importance of their work with the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces.

"Things that happen in places like Morocco affect the overall national security of the United States," said Mabus, who himself served in the U.S. Navy as a surface warfare officer during the Vietnam War. He was also the U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1994 to 1996.

"You can surge people; You can surge equipment; But you can't surge trust," explained Mabus. "And that is what you've been doing here; establishing a key (military to military) relationship that will pay dividends in the years to come. I understand how this deployment can disrupt your lives, especially for Reservists. The things we do around the world today, we couldn't do without the Reserves. Less than one percent of the population of the U.S. wears the uniform. That one percent protects the other 99 percent. It's important that Americans understand who you are, and what our military is capable of."

Marines from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234, a Marine Forces Reserve unit based in Fort Worth, Texas, flew their KC-130 Hercules aircraft into the Agadir military airfield from their base several hundred miles north in the town of Kenitra to pick up Mabus and his staff. They flew the group down to Tan Tan, a rural desert region in the southwest of Morocco.

Marines from the task force conducting operations in the Cap Draa Training Area nearby convoyed Mabus out to see the troops conducting live-fire mortar and machine gun training in the desert.

Mabus met the Marines from Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, based in Chicago, and Company F, 4th Tank Battalion, headquartered at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

They were training alongside their counterparts from the Moroccan Army.

The Marines and Sailors, most of whom have been living in small pup tents in an austere bivouac site for the past two weeks, were covered in dust and soot from training.

"I know it's hard work," Mabus told the service members. "I know you are a long way from home. But it's important work you're doing. The skill level you have and the dedication and confidence you show is something no other country can match. Thank you for your willingness to serve. Thank you for your willingness to sacrifice. Thank you for your service to the people of the United States of America."

Mabus promoted Capt. Todd Schunk, a Reserve Marine from Jacksonville, Fla., to the rank of major in a field ceremony about a hundred meters away from where Schunk, the Company F executive officer, had been firing machine guns with his Marines just minutes earlier.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to have the SecNav do this in the field with my Marines present," said Schunk. "It was really a great honor."

Mabus took the time to speak one-on-one with some of the Marines from his native state of Mississippi, where he served as governor from 1988 to 1992.

"I think it's important that he came all the way out here to visit us and explain how it all comes together, how we fit into the big picture," said Cpl. Nathan Cooley, a Reserve Marine with Headquarters Battalion, 4th Marine Division. "The Marines can see that we're not just out here getting dirty for nothing. They can see that it's being recognized back in Washington D.C., and around the country. What we're doing is not going unseen."

Mabus and his staff then moved on to the logistics support area (LSA), which Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 scraped and leveled on the desert floor in late April and early May to prepare for the main body of Reservists who are temporarily living there during the exercise.

Although the troops staying in this dusty, barren bivouac site typically have Meals-Ready-to-Eat for lunch, the food service Marines from 4th Marine Logistics Group prepared a special lunch of T-ration "chili mac," corn and fresh salad for Mabus and his entourage, as well as for more than 400 troops staying on the logistics support area.

After lunch, Mabus toured the 4th Marine Logistics Group's Forward Resuscitative Surgical Suite trauma center.

This new medical capability, which was first employed in its current form in 2003, provides trauma and surgical care to both U.S. service members and host country nationals in an expeditionary environment.

"We all thought it was great, especially the young enlisted guys who have never seen or met a dignitary before. They appreciated it a lot," said Cdr. James Cole, a Navy reservist and trauma surgeon from Detachment 5, Surgical Company A, 4th Medical Battalion in Chicago.

"Those of us who have been forward (to Iraq or Afghanistan) before have seen a lot of senior government officials, but what really impressed me was that he is just a very personable and candid person who hung out and talked with the troops in the chow hall," said Cole, who is a trauma surgeon in Downers Grove, Ill. "Oftentimes, these VIP visits can be stressful and full of protocol. He made it simple, and just had a question and answer session with the Marines and sailors."

The Marine engineers also laid a 600-meter gravel road from the beachfront to a four-acre lot nearby, which can be used as a staging area for transport and retrograde of personnel and equipment to and from the LSA and other training areas in Cap Draa.

In a truly joint endeavor, U.S. Navy SEABEEs based in Rota, Spain helped in construction of the K-Spans and soldiers from the Tennessee National Guard heavy equipment transportation unit hauled out bulldozers, dump trucks, cranes, compactors and backhoes several hundred kilometers from the port in Agadir.

The K-Spans, in addition to the LSA, gravel roads and ammunition bunkers, are intended for use by U.S. troops and Moroccans for summer exercises scheduled annually here in the coming years.

Mabus spoke to the Marines about U.S. Department of Defense's future vision of African Lion. One concept involves large-scale amphibious exercises, where Marines and Moroccan soldiers will come ashore in high-speed landing craft.

Another plan is to conduct Maritime Prepositioning Force offloads of tons of supplies and vehicles for joint and combined training.

With the completion of the beach road, the four-acre staging area and the LSA with K-spans this year, the stage is set for a regimental-sized element to come ashore at Cap Draa, move inland and reside in relative comfort while taking advantage of the area's training opportunities.

With this amphibious capability, future exercises can be conducted at a lower cost and with greater safety, as vehicle convoys will no longer be required to run from the port in Agadir.

"When we leave Afghanistan, we want to get the Marines back to their amphibious roots," said Mabus. "One reason we conduct these exercise is to help develop [the Moroccan] military. We also aim to improve their rural civil works projects and infrastructure, like you've done here. Morocco is the closest friend we have in this part of the world, and we want to continue with the ongoing development of this relationship."

After doing an on-camera interview with an American Forces Network crew that had flown in from their base in Germany, Mabus and his crew headed back to the Tan Tan airfield, where the KC-130s were waiting to take them back to the task force headquarters in Agadir.

"We could not do what we do today without the Reserves," concluded Mabus. "You make so much possible. You've got Reserve Marines out here who bring all their skills sets and share them with the Moroccan military. You've got Navy Reserve corpsmen and doctors who can do surgery in a tent in the middle of Morocco. You've got National Guardsmen out here hauling supplies and equipment. Every time we call on the Reserve, hands go up. You've been living hard out here. It's hot. It's dusty. But you are the face of America. You're showing how good the armed forces of America really are."

Special operations Airmen train from the air to the water

by Staff Sgt. Mareshah Haynes
Defense Media Activity-San Antonio

6/11/2010 - NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY- PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AFNS) -- It's 3 a.m. in Panama City Beach, Fla. The bay looks like black liquid glass as the motor boat filled with combat controllers-in-training cuts through the water.

The boat comes to the insertion point. The controllers sit on the edge of the boat and when the order is given, they fall backward over the side into the water. They begin their 3000-meter swim into the night.

This is just part of one of the training blocks in the Air Force Combat Diver Course that combat rescue officers, pararescuemen, combat controllers and special tactics officers go through at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center in Panama City Beach.

The NDSTC is the only military dive school in the Department of Defense, and each branch of the armed services and the Coast Guard has a detachment here to train their divers.

Because of the nature of special operations, controllers and special tactics officers are often attached to units from other branches of service and they must be able to infiltrate an area by air, land and water.

"Combat controllers don't deploy with other Air Force members," said Staff Sgt. Kaplan Petrik, a pararescueman and combat dive instructor. "They deploy with the Army or the Navy and they have to be able to do everything their Army and Navy counterparts are doing, and that includes diving if they're working with the (Navy) SEALs or Army Green Berets."

The AFCDC consists of 20 days of open-circuit training, with controllers and special tactics officers continuing on to a 13-day course of closed-circuit training using the MK-25 rebreather, a bubbleless underwater breathing apparatus.

"During the one-man confidence training (in the open-circuit phase), an instructor will provide harassment, take the regulator away, shake them up a little, tie up the regulator, wrap it around the manifold so it forces them to go back and locate their gear and remove any deficiencies in the gear to recover their air," said Staff Sgt. Brian Zmijewski, a pararescueman and combat dive instructor.

During the closed-circuit training, Airmen learn the basics of the MK-25 and how to navigate at night under water.

On this particular night, the Airmen had to complete a 1000-meter turtleback swim, or surface swim with full gear, followed by a 3000-meter swim 12 to 20 feet under the surface, with only a compass and physical landmarks to guide them to their target point.

They must also navigate any obstacles they may encounter while underwater.

"Anything that's above surface is below surface," Sergeant Zmijewski said. "Everything from the old bridge that was destroyed and placed in the water as an artificial reef to boats, cars, anything you can think of."

"There's also dangerous marine life like stingrays as well," Sergeant Kaplan said.

All of this must be done with approximately 50 pounds of gear including their underwater breathing apparatus, a rifle, simulated full ammunition magazines, an emergency buoyancy control vest, a tactical vest, canteens and more.

"They're trying to achieve a one-knot swim speed," Sergeant Zmijewski said. "They should be able to swim 100 yards in three minutes and 1,000 in 15 minutes."

"So basically times that by 10 and double it," Sergeant Petrik said. "They have an hour to complete the subsurface swim."

Soon after the Airmen graduate from the AFCDC, they will be off to their permanent duty stations and possibly in theater shortly thereafter.

MILITARY CONTRACTS June 11, 2010

AIR FORCE

McDonnell Douglas Corp., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $98,000,000 contract which will provide a five-year indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity basic contract for the production of the Small Diameter Bomb I weapon system for various Foreign Military Sales customers aircraft platforms throughout the life of the contract. At this time, no money has been obligated. 680 ARSSG/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8681-10-D-0071).

Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $24,534,711 contract action for naval operations and warfighting capability development for the commander, Navy Warfare Development Command. At this time, $1,500,000 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (HC1047-05-D-4005).

Wyle Laboratories, Inc., Huntsville, Ala., received a $24,359,812 contract modification for the Reliability Information Analysis Center which will apply reliability, maintainability, quality, supportability and interoperability engineering principles and analysis to enhance interoperability of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems; technology enhancements; and new capabilities and legacy systems. At this time, $605,000 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-03-D-1380).

Borrego Solar Systems, Inc., El Cajon, Calif., received an $8,642,841 contract which will provide 3.5 megawatts of renewable solar electricity to be generated at four different locations. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 95 CONS/PKB, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA9301-10-C-0003).

U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND

Insight Technologies, Londonderry, N.H., is being awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a $75 million total contract ceiling for the purchase of handheld laser markers (HLM) in support of U.S. Special Operations Command. The work will be performed in Londonderry, N.H., and is expected to be completed by June 15, 2013. This contract was awarded through full and open competition. Delivery order #0001 for 218 HLM systems valued at $8,555,573 will be awarded in conjunction with the base contract award to satisfy the contract's guaranteed minimum. U.S. Special Operations Command is the contracting activity (H92222-10-D-0022).

NAVY

The Boeing Co., Saint Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $59,500,000 ceiling-priced modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-09-C-0050) to provide 3,300 flight hours of persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance unmanned aircraft vehicle services in support of U.S. Marine Corps combat missions. Work will be performed in Bingen, Wash. (97 percent), and St. Louis, Mo. (3 percent); and is expected to be completed in December 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $29,750,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors, Owego, N.Y., is being awarded a $12,679,497 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-06-C-0098) for common cockpit provisioned items in support of the MH-60R and MH-60S helicopter programs. Work will be performed in Owego, N.Y., and is expected to be completed in July 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Force Protection Industries, Inc., Ladson, S.C., is being awarded a $10,813,611 firm- fixed-priced modification under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5031) delivery order #0018, to purchase 2,654 570 amp alternator modernization kits. These kits will be installed on the Cougar Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle fleet supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Work will be performed in Ladson, S.C., and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $1,937,510 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

ARMY

Oshkosh Corp, Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on June 9 a $34,843,909 requirements delivery order contract. This contract is for the delivery of 90 RECAP M11220 A4, and 50 RECAP M977A4 vehicles with associated boxed engines and provision to order missing parts as required. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM Contracting Center, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZ-09-D-0024).

Mabey Bridge & Shore, Inc., Elkridge, Md., was awarded on June 8 a $23,406,063 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract establishes a program of record for the Army to procure line of communication bridge systems; provisioning; test support; training; and field services support. Delivery order #0001 includes first article test items and 38 dry gap fixed bridge systems for fielding and prepositioned stock. Work is to be performed in the United Kingdom (94 percent), and Houston, Texas (6 percent), with an estimated completion date of June 6, 2015. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with two bids received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, TACOM Contracting Center, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-10-D-0058).

ESI Contracting Corp., Kansas City, Mo., was awarded on June 8 a $13,636,934 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for the construction of a civil works flood damage reduction project along Turkey Creek, Kansas City, Kan. This project will consist of 800 feet of channel deepening and widening which will result in a concrete walled channel with a natural stream bottom. Work is to be performed in Kansas City, Kan., with an estimated completion date of June 22, 2012. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with seven bids received. U.S. Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District, Kansas City, Mo., is the contracting activity (W912DQ-10-C-1030).

General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc., Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on June 8 a $10,924,618 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for the procurement of 256 of Abrams reactive armor tile; 743 of Abrams reactive armor tile weldments; 300 Abrams reactive armor tile brush guards; and 300 Abrams reactive armor tile brackets. Work is to be performed in Lima, Ohio, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM-Warren, CCTA-AHL-C, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-06-G-0006).

Smith's Detection, Edgewood, Md., was awarded on June 8 an $8,132,955 firm-fixed-price contract to purchase 1,777 joint chemical agent detector devices with warranties. Work is to be performed in Edgewood, Md., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Research Development & Engineering Command Acquisition Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground Contracting Division, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W911SR-07-C-0054).

Tremco, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio, was awarded on June 9 a $5,770,000 firm-fixed-price contract for a construction project for roof replacement, Building 299, Rock Island Arsenal, Ill. Work is to be performed in Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2010. Five bids were solicited with three bids received. Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-10-F-5008).

ESI, Kansas City, Mo., was awarded on June 8 a $5,528,549 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for the civil works, planning and design for the "Kansas City District Contraction Blue River Channel Improvements 53-63rd Street, Kansas City, Mo, Jackson County." Work is to be performed in Kansas City, Mo., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 30, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with six bids received. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District, Kansas City, Mo., is the contracting activity (W912DQ-10-C-1032).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Signature Flight Support Corp., Las Vegas, Nev., is being awarded a maximum $11,994,811 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for fuel. Other location of performance is McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, Nev. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and federal civilian agencies. There were two proposals originally solicited with two responses. The date of performance completion is March 31, 2014. The Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-10-D-0008).

Boeing Co., Saint Louis, Mo., is being awarded a maximum $9,435,528 firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for acquisition of control indicator in support of F-15 program. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Air Force. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is April 30, 2013. The Defense Logistics Agency Warner Robins (DSCR-Z), Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity (SPO400-01-D-9406-XE01).

General Electric Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, is being awarded a maximum $8,730,800 firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for combustion chamber frames. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Air Force. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is June 29, 2012. The Defense Logistics Agency Richmond (DSCR-ZBAB), Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (SPRTA1-09-G-0009-0023).

WWII Pearl Harbor Sailor Identified

June 11, 2010 - The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman missing in action from World War II has been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is U.S. Navy Fireman Third Class Gerald G. Lehman, of Hancock, Mich. He will be buried Saturday in Hancock.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941, the battleship USS Oklahoma suffered multiple torpedo hits and capsized. As a result, 429 sailors and Marines died. Following the attack, 36 of these servicemen were identified and the remaining 393 were buried as unknowns in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.

In 2003, an independent researcher contacted the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) with information he believed indicated that one of the USS Oklahoma casualties who was buried as an unknown could be positively identified. After reviewing the case, JPAC exhumed the casket and discovered that it contained Lehman's remains.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used dental comparisons and mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of his sister and nieces -- in the identification of Lehman's remains.

More than 400,000 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II died. At the end of the war, the U.S. government was unable to recover, identify and bury approximately 79,000 as known persons. They include those buried with honor as unknowns, those lost at sea, and those missing in action. That number also includes the 1,100 sailors entombed in the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. Today, more than 72,000 Americans remain unaccounted-for from WW II.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.

MCPON Visits Stuttgart, Germany

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Daniel P. Lapierre, Commander, Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia Public Affairs

June 11, 2010 - STUTTGART, Germany (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy(MCPON)(SS/SW) Rick D. West frocked five Sailors and held an all-hands call during his first visit to the greater Stuttgart, Germany, area June 8.

The Stuttgart community houses more than 400 Sailors, between U.S. Africa Command and U.S. European Command. West's visit to U.S. Africa Command was the first visit by a service senior enlisted advisor since its creation Oct. 1, 2008.

West was joined by Master Chief Bradley Levault, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, and Master Chief Roy Maddocks, U.S. European Command, senior enlisted advisor, during his visit to Stuttgart.

The turnout for the all-hands call, at Patch Barracks movie theatre, was packed with hundreds of Sailors who were eager to hear what West had to say.

"The reason why I'm here is because there are Sailors here. It gives me a chance to spend time with Sailors to hear and learn from them," said West.

The all-hands call covered a variety of topics which included, new working uniform, changes to the Navy's physical readiness program and fleet manning levels.

"It was good to see the Navy's senior enlisted advisor so open and honest when he answered the questions," said Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Felicia Decker.

Prior to the all-hands call, West received a command briefing from U.S. Africa Command, and following the briefing, he frocked five Sailors. The Sailors who he frocked received MCPON coins and a high-five as he thanked them for their continued service to their country.

"It was an honor having the MCPON put on my first star," said Senior Chief Intelligence Specialist Catherine Crilley. "I'm so happy that my husband, Lawrence, was able to fly from Dunkirk, Md., to share this special moment with me. It truly is a highlight of my career."

After the frocking ceremony, West ate lunch with the Africa Chief Petty Officers Association (ACPOA). West used the opportunity to offer some guidance and listen to U.S. Africa Command's deckplate leadership to better understand their Sailors issues. The ACPOA exchanged coins with West and took a few group photos to commemorate the special event.

"It was a great to expose the MCPON to AFRICOM's Navy foot print, and share with him views from our perspective, especially since it was the first visit the MCPON has had here with the Stuttgart Community," said Senior Chief Intelligence Specialist Todd Lerner, ACPOA president.

Wounded Warrior Earns Jump Qualification

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joseph M. Buliavac, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 1 Public Affairs

June 11, 2010 - SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- A wounded warrior earned his naval parachutist qualification upon completing his final jumps at Brown Field in San Diego June 9.

While the qualification is difficult to obtain and uncommon in the Navy, Lt. John Pucillo had a particularly unique challenge to overcome to earn his jump wings - his left leg is amputated above the knee.

"The fact that the Navy allowed me to go to jump school with my amputated leg and then continue on to get this final parachutist qualification is amazing,"said Pucillo. "I hope that other Sailors and other military members take this to heart…you can come back from an injury."

Pucillo, an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) officer, lost his leg after his patrol was attacked and a roadside improvised explosive device blew apart his vehicle while on a routine mission in Baghdad, Iraq May 19, 2006. For his service, he was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

To earn his jump qualification, Pucillo attended the three-week Army Airborne School in Fort Benning, Ga. with a prosthetic limb. He was resolute that he wanted no special treatment while at school; if he was going to pass, it was going to be under the same conditions as every other student there.

"They didn't cut anything out of the school, I made sure of that," said Pucillo. "I told them if I don't pass, you don't pass me."

While at Jump School, he learned everything about his parachute; how to wear it, adjust it and use it. He learned all the techniques needed to accomplish his mission with absolute confidence, including a very important lesson in parachuting: how to land.

After completing the school, Pucillo had a number of tasks to complete, including 10 static line jumps from aircraft.

"I told the guys today, if I don't get out of this plane today, I'm not getting these wings. Don't give them to me, I want to earn them, and that's what I did," said Pucillo.

Upon touching the ground on his 10th jump, Pucillo was pinned with his Navy-Marine Corps parachutist wings by Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposalman Nicholas Kush, assigned to EOD Training and Evaluation Unit 1.

"He's an example for us in the EOD community," said Kush. "To go through jump school and earn his gold wings as an amputee is definitely impressive and it was an honor for me and our team to be a part of it. That guy is definitely gung ho and he sets a great example for the rest of us in the EOD community."

After recovering from his injuries in Iraq, Pucillo returned to active EOD service in August 2007, at which time he became aware of the prospect of becoming a paralympic athlete. He set out to join the U.S. Paralympics Sailing National Team, another goal he succeeded in accomplishing.

Pucillo then went on to earn his master's degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. He is currently serving as the flag aide to Rear Adm. Donald P. Quinn, deputy chief of naval personnel at Navy Personnel Command.

"I am a firm believer that you lead from the front," said Pucillo. "If I'm going to be a real XO, a real CO, this shouldn't stop me. I'm proud that I was able to do it and go to my next mobile unit and lead from the front."

Flournoy Calls for Better Interagency Cooperation

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

June 11, 2010 - The Defense Department has made progress in addressing the challenges of the world today, but huge problems remain and the department must do much more to face the dangers the nation confronts, the undersecretary of defense for policy said yesterday.

Michele Flournoy spoke to the Center for a New American Strategy, a think-tank she once presided over. The world is still dangerous, she noted, and the tools the United States can use are outdated.

"To put it bluntly, we're trying to face 21st century threats with national security processes and tools that were designed for the Cold War -- and with a bureaucracy that sometimes seems to have been designed for the Byzantine Empire, which, you will recall, didn't end well," Flournoy said. "We're still too often rigid when we need to be flexible, clumsy when we need to be agile, slow when we need to be fast, focused on individual agency equities when we need to be focused on the broader whole of government mission."

Building international cooperation is a must, and the administration has worked hard to rebuild trust with allies and friends around the globe, she said.

Interagency cooperation is also tremendously important, Flournoy said. Almost nine years of war proved to defense officials the need for civilian agencies in a "whole-of-government" approach to the problems confronting the world.

"The interagency community is beginning to grapple with tough challenges," she said.

The State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the intelligence community are examining how to better work together with each other and with the Defense Department.

"If we as a government can't get better at linking ends, ways and means, we will not adequately position the United States to protect and advance our national interests in the face of a very challenging 21st century security and economic environment," Flournoy said.

The Defense Department must look to reform itself, too, she said. Defense leaders are working to embrace the lessons of the war. The central lesson being intelligent adversaries will seek to confront U.S. weaknesses, not American strengths.

"U.S. forces in this century will need to prevail against a wide range of challenges: from insurgencies and state failure, to regional powers seeking to deny U.S. access to critical regions, to the ever-expanding 'hybrid' possibilities in between," she said. "We will need the agility of a David, not the clumsiness of a Goliath."

All moves are to make the military more versatile across the range of possible conflicts.

"For far too long we assumed that, for example, counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, building security capacity and stability operations were 'lesser included' cases — subsets of the canonical contingencies that dominated our defense planning," Flournoy said. "As long as we planned for conventional warfare, so the argument went, we could succeed in these other operations."

That is patently not true, she said, and what's more the point is not to assume that future conflicts will look just like current conflicts.

"Future conflicts and threats may take many shapes," she said. "Yet we can't prepare simultaneously and fully for every possible contingency — so we need to focus on flexibility and agility, on creating a force that is prepared for the most likely threats, and can adapt quickly to the unpredictable."

Chairman's Corner: Happy Birthday Army!

By Navy Adm. Mike Mullen
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

June 11, 2010 - For 235 years, the United States Army has truly been the strength of our nation. And today, I believe it is the best it has ever been.

One of the great privileges of this job is visiting our men and women in uniform, including our soldiers, who serve around the world. From Fort Hood to Kandahar and posts and FOBs in between, I am proud of and grateful for the courage you and your families display and the sacrifices you make every day. You embody what "Army Strong" is all about.

In a year that has seen historic progress in Iraq, a renewed effort in Afghanistan and a superb response to the humanitarian crisis following Haiti's earthquake, the Army's fighting spirit, resilience, and adaptability proved critical. You brought fear to the enemy, hope to the destitute and security to your fellow citizens. You proved in word and in deed that sometimes we defend our national interests best when we help others defend theirs.

I am also ever mindful of the commitment we must make to the fallen, our wounded warriors, and their families. Their sacrifices are as profound as they are enduring, and we will always honor those who have given so much to our Army, our country, and the world.

On behalf of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Happy 235th birthday to our Army and our Army Families. Hooah!

MP Builds Resilience in Soldiers, Families

By Dijon Rolle
U.S. Army Garrison Baden-Wuerttemberg Public Affairs

June 11, 2010 - Army Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Stoner says resilience is "the ability to have a positive outcome from negative situations." He should know. With 25 years in the Army, the Georgia native is no stranger to change or to the ups and downs that often accompany military life.

In fact, it's one of the reasons he agreed to take on his latest mission as the master resiliency trainer for the 18th Military Police Brigade here.

In 2003, after returning from deployment, Stoner said he had some "major problems" readjusting, which were compounded by his marital problems. With support from his chain of command, he sought help at community mental health.

"Back in 2003, if you went to community mental health and said, 'I need help,' as an MP, they put you on a rubber gun squad," he said. "But my unit didn't do that, they supported me, and I was able to get the assistance that I needed to become an effective soldier again."

The skills Stoner said he learned from community mental health were similar to those of the resiliency training program.

"If I had learned these skills prior to my difficulty in 2003, I probably wouldn't have had those same problems," he said. "That's why I believe in the program so much. It really helped me."

The resiliency training course is one component of the Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program designed to help soldiers, civilians and families become more resilient by increasing their strength in all five areas of fitness: physical, emotional, social, spiritual and family.

A master resiliency trainer is a soldier or civilian who has graduated from the Army's Master Resilience Training Course and has specialized training in teaching and applying the program's doctrine. The skills they learn are designed to help soldiers cope more effectively with stress, emotions and changes in their environment.

Trainers are responsible for teaching four modules: resilience, building mental toughness, building character strength and building strong relationships.

The training is conducted using several interactive classroom sessions. Small and large groups participate in mostly scenario-based exercises and dialogue.

All soldiers are required to complete 28.5 hours of MRT training and to take the Global Assessment Tool, a confidential online tool designed to let people know how they fare in the five areas of comprehensive fitness and where they can improve.

Stoner attended the Master Resilience Training Course at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, last year. The Army just opened an MRT facility at Fort Jackson, S.C.

"This program is going to teach soldiers how to deal with adversity a lot better. This isn't just something the Army threw together since 9/11," Stoner said. "It's a culmination of research that has been conducted by several different departments, most of them at the University of Pennsylvania, over the past 40-plus years."

Amy Cates, the health promotion officer for U. S. Army Garrison Baden-W├╝rttemberg, has played an active part in helping the command implement the Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program.

"Soldiers have always focused on a rigorous physical fitness training," Cates said, "but before this training, there was no program to teach soldiers how to deal with stress, work, physical training, family, personal problems and multiple deployments. Becoming mentally strong is just as important, if not more important, than physical strength."

Despite all the research and a strong push from Army officials, Stoner said he knows the MRT program will probably meet some resistance.

"A lot of people think it's a 'hold hands and make everybody feel good' type of thing," he said. "But the program works, and I believe that it will greatly assist not just the soldiers, but the families."

Stoner is realistic about any immediate impact the training may have on the soldiers themselves.

"This is not a magic bullet," he said. "This is not something that I am going to be able to sit there and teach the soldiers in 28.5 hours, and turn around and everything is going to be perfect in their unit. That's not the way it works.

"What is going to happen, though, is that it's going to give the soldiers a better idea on how to handle stressors," he continued. "And as they develop the skills and use them in their lives, the more resilient they'll become, and maybe three, four, five years down the road, we'll actually see a large decrease in, hopefully , domestic violence, drug abuse, sexual assault and other problems."

In addition to his work as a trainer, Stoner is the only MRT facilitator in the 21st Theater Support Command. Facilitators receive more in-depth training on the program and the research behind it.

The program is open to all soldiers, family members and Army civilians.